05/16/2014 10:03AM

Wise Dan undergoes emergency colic surgery

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Keeneland/Coady Photography
Wise Dan, voted Horse of the Year in 2012 and 2013 and shown winning the Maker's 46 Mile in April, was having emergency colic surgery Friday morning.

Less than two weeks after scoring the 10th Grade 1 victory of his career, two-time reigning Horse of the Year Wise Dan underwent emergency colic surgery in Lexington, Ky. As of midday Friday, the prognosis for the gelding is fair, according to trainer Charles LoPresti and owner and breeder Morton Fink, and the issue may not be career-ending.

Wise Dan went out for a routine gallop Friday morning at his Keeneland base, but became uncomfortable after returning to the barn and was taken to Rood & Riddle Equine Hospital shortly afterward. The 7-year-old Wiseman’s Ferry gelding underwent surgery to repair a twist in his small intestine, and the surgery was uncomplicated, not requiring a resection of the intestines.

“When they opened him up, one of his intestines had just flipped over – they just straightened it out and sewed him back up,” Fink said.

One key with gastrointestinal troubles in horses is to catch the issue early – before the blood supply to the area is compromised, other sections of bowel become inflamed, or toxins are released into the bloodstream. Fink credited LoPresti’s quick action for Wise Dan’s prognosis.

“If it wasn’t for Charlie, we wouldn’t have a horse,” Fink said. “He galloped perfectly normal this morning, [but] Charlie looked in his stall and he said he had to go to Rood & Riddle.”

LoPresti, who accompanied his champion to the clinic, confirmed via text at about 12:30 p.m. Eastern that Wise Dan was resting in recovery at Rood & Riddle.

The gelding will remain at the hospital for a few days before returning to familiar surroundings at Keeneland to continue his recuperation. The first 72 hours after colic surgery are typically critical, with short-term complications such as postoperative ileus – a loss of gut motility – most likely to occur.

Barring complications with long-term recovery, Wise Dan could resume light training by midsummer.

“When Charlie first called me they were praying for him to live,” Fink said. “I’m only worried about him living – I’m not planning on any racing, but according to them, he’ll be ready to go back into training in six to eight weeks.”

Wise Dan has won 21 of 29 career starts, including back-to-back editions of the Breeders’ Cup Mile, earning $6,802,920. He began this season with two Grade 1 victories, scoring in the Maker’s 46 Mile April 11 at Keeneland before winning the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic on the Kentucky Derby undercard.

Wise Dan was honored as Horse of the Year, champion older male, and champion turf male for both 2012 and 2013.

– additional reporting by Marcus Hersh